What is Nutritional Therapy?
You are unique, so what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you, and the landscape of nutrition can be confusing, to say the least.
For our body to be able to heal, and for us to be able to function at our best, we need the right nutrients. However, many of us may fall short in these vital nutrients. The pressures of our modern life – working long hours, eating on the run, relying too much on processed foods or stimulants, eating the wrong kinds of foods, or suffering from too much stress, coupled with intensive farming and pollution, can adversely impact on the quality of our food. As a result, we may end up with small shortfalls in our nutrient levels.
It is proposed that when the body is short on a vitamin or mineral, like the triage nurse in the emergency room, the body will allocate that scarce resource to the activity or activities that it deems the most important. This means that some functions may go without. If this happens over a long period of time, this can put a strain on our body and result in imbalances.
These imbalances may impact on various body processes, such as the:
- Control of blood sugar levels;
- Digestion and absorption of food and nutrients
- Processing of toxins by the liver
- Regulation of hormones, such as sex hormones, adrenal hormones and thyroid hormones
- Immune and inflammatory processes
- Metabolism of energy production
- Regulation of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters
After years and years of these low level shortfalls, typically when we get to over 40 and closer to the age of 50, we may start to notice that our body isn’t working the way that it used to anymore. Symptoms can start to show, such as a lack of energy, headaches, brain fog, poor digestion, cravings for sweet or starchy foods, and energy slumps. Many people tend to put this down to aging or think of it as being normal. However, it’s worth noting that some prominent scientists believe that long-term, sub-optimal nutrition may be a contributing factor to chronic diseases, like mental health issues, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and auto-immune conditions, that are becoming more common today.
The good news is, your body may be rebalanced, and a nutritional therapist will use food and supplements to help provide the nutrients needed for the body to thrive and return to a state of optimum health and vitality. However, while getting the foundations of healthy eating into place is a primary aim of nutritional therapy, every person is unique.
A food that may be healthy for one person may not be for another, and even though you may be eating a supposedly healthy diet, you may still experience issues. You should consult your GP if a medical condition is suspected, of course, but sometimes, issues can arise because of hormonal or brain chemical imbalances, the presence of parasites, the exposure to toxins resulting in allergies, or compromised digestion and/or absorption.
As a registered nutritional therapist, and working on the basis of Functional Medicine, I look to identify any such potential imbalances in your body that may be contributing to your health concerns, and stopping you from being your healthy best.
Nutritional therapy is not a “magic pill”. Your symptoms have taken years before becoming noticeable, and so we wouldn’t expect things to be resolved with just one magic pill either. Although you may see some immediate improvements, it can take the body time to come back into balance.
To read how my professional association (the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine or BANT) describe Nutritional Therapy, please click here and to understand the difference between nutritionists and nutritional therapists, please click here.